Week 8 of Lockerbie Bombing Trial
Start: 19/06/2000 *** Updated: 24. June 2000
This page will keep you informed about the eight week (19.06-23.06) in the Lockerbie Bombing Trial in Camp Zeist.
Latest and updated news at bottom of page.
Come and join the discussion: Is the world really going to know the truth at the trial in the Netherlands ?
What is going on inside and outside the court ? Who was behind the crash of Pan Am 103 ?
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Erwin Meister admits memory problem - Bollier´s testimony begins19/6/2000 BBC NEWS/LBTU et. al
The court hearing continued today with cross examination of Friday´s witness, Erwin Meister. One of Swiss firm Mebo's owners, Erwin Meister also said Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi had set up a company to help them recover debts owed by Libyan organisations. Meister is the man in the back of the picture left (picture taken 25 years ago)
At the beginning of proceedings Mr Meister requested to be allowed to give his evidence in German because he claimed difficulties in expressing himself with precision in the English language.This request was granted by the court.
Mr Meister confirmed to the court that the firm had supplied timing devices to Libya and also to the East German Secret Service. On Friday, Mr Meister pointed to Mr Al Megrahi as a man he "had done business with".
But under cross-examination today, Mr Meister admitted he had a bad memory and that his identification of one of the accused might have been from seeing so many press photos of the man rather than from his own recollection. Mr Meister acknowledged he had difficulty remembering details about his company's sale in 1985 to Libya of 20 sample timers with an MST-13 circuit board - the type that prosecutors have linked to the attack.
The witness repeated several times that he had a bad memory. "It's a problem I've had for quite some time and it's getting worse," he said. Mr Meister first said he had only visited East Germany once but then agreed that he had made numerous trips to deliver equipment to the Stasi secret police, including a lie detector and a pager that scrambled messages into code. Under cross examination by Richard Keen QC for Fhima, Meister said he once made a visit to Syria accompanied by a German called Mr. Andre. This visit took place in 1984.
Mebo had sold around 15 timers to East Germany before 1985 and supplied several more in late 1985, but Mr Meister insisted the timers sold in 1985 were different from the ones sold to Libya. Defence counsel later charged Meister of lying, forging documents, fabricating evidence and blackmailing the Libyan government. Meister denied the allegations
Defence Counsel cited written statements taken from Meister by Swiss and Scottish police in 1990 and 1991 that said Meister had "willingly lied to achieve financial gain." Mr Meister acknowledged under intense cross-examination that he and Mr Bollier did not tell police investigators during initial questioning that they had supplied timers to the Stasi. But he said that was just an oversight.
He also admitted that he had not disclosed a trip to Syria to sell equipment. The defence's case is that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PLFP-GC), based in Syria, and another Palestinian group, are responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. Mr Meister said he had travelled to Syria in 1984 in an attempt to sell telephone equipment, but no business was ever concluded.
The defence also accused Mr Meister and Mr Bollier of trying to blackmail one of their Libyan business contacts, Ezzadin Hinshiri, in February 1991 after they had received a visit from the Swiss police about the Lockerbie affair. Mr Meister acknowledged they wrote a letter informing Hinshiri of the police inquiries and offering to tell the authorities the timers were sold to someone in Beirut, not Libya. They ended the letter asking if any more business was possible with Libya.
"Wasn't this a blatant attempt to extract business, lucrative business, in exchange for telling lies?" Mr Burns asked. Mr Meister denied this, saying they had only written the letter to placate Mr Hinshiri since they feared for their safety.
Meister did admit that MEBO was in the process of arranging loans from Libya during the time of the early investigations into the crash. Challenged by the defence that he and MEBO had offered to cover for Libya by stating that they had sold timers to an extremist group in Beirut, Meister denied this.
Bollier: briefcase-bombs and remote controls
Edwin Bollier, witness number 548, and the BO in MEBO, spoke of how MEBO established business links with Libya. He sold Libya a vessel, a former Pirate Radio ship from the North Sea and he told how he supplied electronics equipment to the Libyan Army. Bollier later admitted his company fitted briefcases with the technology to detonate remote-controlled bombs. Bollier told the court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands that his Zurich-based firm converted ordinary Swiss Telekom and Motorola pagers into radio-controlled detonators and secured them into the cases. (Left: Bollier arriving at Camp Zeist/ photo: Paul O'Driscoll/EPS/Scotsman)
Some of these devices were delivered to the East German secret police, or Stasi, in East Berlin. He said the Swiss company did not supply the explosives. Mr Turnbull Q.C. for the Crown showed Bollier a sketch of a timing device called “Motorola PageBoy 2”. The diagram showed a suitcase with explosives and a modified paging device included. The diagram indicated the device could be activated remotely. Bollier confirmed that MeBo supplied such devices (minus the explosives) to the Stazi.
Mr. Turnbull then asked Mr. Bollier if MeBo has supplied such devices to anyone other than the Stazi. At this point Mr. Burns QC. for the defence objected to this question. There then followed a legal debate. Mr. Burns claimed that the question was designed to elicit evidence which would fall out with the terms of the libel, i.e. outwith the terms of the charges narrated in the Indictment. For the Crown Mr. Turnbull accepted that the evidence he sought by his question would normally fall out with the terms of the libel. However he claimed that in light of Meister’s evidence relating to the exclusivity of MeBo’s supply of explosive devices the question should be allowed. The court however upheld the defence objection to the question.
Bollier claimed that he dealt with a Libyan called “Bashari” who he believed was the head of a broadcasting operation. Bollier admitted he later learned that that Bishari had become the head of the Libyan Security Police. He said that MeBO had supplied listening antenna for the top of Mr. Bishari’s building in Tripoli.
In an unusual exchange Mr. Bollier asked the judges to restrict the questions he was being asked to Pan AM Flight 103. Lord Sutherland explained to him that some evidence which appeared to him unassociated with the Lockerbie Disaster might in law be relevant. He assured Mr. Bollier that the Defence would object to any questions which were, as a matter of law, irrelevant.
On the website of Dr. Robert Black and journalist Ian Ferguson at www.thelockerbietrial.com legal experts say there has never been any serious doubt that MEBO supplied the Libyan Army with timers. The questions will focus on which particular type and when. They say, it is clear in the world within which MEBO conducted its business there is not much in the way of trust. According to the experts mentioned on the website, the Stasi gave Bollier the codename of "Rubin" and let him think he was trusted but Stasi files reveal they considered he might be a CIA agent. It is difficult to imagine that MEBO only sold their electronic timers and electronic equipment to the Libyans and the Stasi.
Bollier is expected to testify again tomorrow.
All about MEBO´s business with pirate radio stations and Libya 1970-2000
Swiss witness says timer fragments are counterfeit20/6/2000 BBC NEWS/Reuters et. al
The testimony of Edwin Bollier continued today. The trial has heard the Swiss businessman allege that one of the Libyan accused may have been a member of Colonel Gadaffi's family. Edwin Bollier said on today how he had met Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi on a number of occasions.
He said he believed the accused, whom he pointed out in the special court room, could have been a major in the Libyan Army or was possibly related to Colonel Gadaffi. Mr Bollier explained to the Scottish judges hearing the case that his Zurich-based company Mebo had provided electronic timing devices to the Libyan Secret Service. He said he went to Tripoli in 1985 to deliver 20 custom-made devices to
the headquarters of the Libyan Secret Service.
Mebo had been doing regular business with the Libyans for years, supplying radio and communications equipment as samples, in anticipation of a much larger order of several thousand. That order never materialised. Mr Bollier said he later saw the timers being tested at the special forces training area at Sabha, Libya, and told the court: "I was present when two such timers were included in bomb cylinders." The 62-year-old added: "They were military aircraft bombs."
Alan Turnbull QC, prosecuting, had asked Mr Bollier why he thought the Libyan secret service wanted timers which could be used to detonate explosives. He told the court: "Each military has timers. These are devices that can be programmed and after a certain time has elapsed the programming is activated. "It can be used in order to detonate an explosive charge."
Edwin Bollier said also he witnessed tests in the Sabha desert near Tripoli of timers he had sold to members of the Libyan military security service in 1985. ``I was present when two such timers were included in bomb cylinders,'' he told prosecutor Alan Turnbull. `Yes, aircraft bombs were detonated,'' Bollier said, according to the court's English-language translation of his testimony in German.
He did not explain what he meant by ``aircraft bombs'' and the prosecutor did not question him further on the phrase.
Bollier said he was told the timers were needed because Libya was at war with Chad and they wanted to be able to set explosive devices to destroy their own camps if they were unable to return to them within a certain time period. Mr Bollier thought Mr Megrahi was involved in the military and that he held the rank of major or higher. "I thought he had a fairly high position, he was well connected and I thought he was part of Gadaffi's family," said Mr Bollier.
He said Mr Megrahi and another man named Badri Hassan had set up a business called ABH at the Mebo offices.The Lockerbie indictment accuses Mr Megrahi of establishing a "pretended business under the name ABH as a cover for the operations of the Libyan Intelligence Services".
"Similar timers produced for the CIA in the US"
Unprompted, Bollier mentioned that another firm in Florida was producing similar timers for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Turnbull, however, directed Bollier back to the subject upon which he was being questioned, and no further details were revealed of the Florida firm.
Also, Bollier had the opportunity to unwrap and look at the two timer fragments in court today. Wearing rubber gloves and using a magnifyer, he noticed that the brown fragment had been severly burned since he last saw it in Scotland in September last year. It was severed so much that it had become almost flexible.
Website claiming MEBO-timers were also fabricated in the US for the CIA
``They have been modified, I swear they have been modified,'' Mebo co-owner Edwin Bollier then said after peering through the magnifying glass at charred fragments from a circuit board prosecutors said was found among the debris of the Boeing 747. Bollier said his firm did not necessarily supply the timer and the fragments could have come from counterfeit copies. He did identify the two fragments as appearing to come from a MST-13 circuit board. But he said the pieces seemed to have been burnt since he first saw them at a Scottish police office last year and one was slightly smaller than a photo taken shortly after it was found.
Prosecutor Alan Turnbull said tiny pieces were shaved off from the fragments so forensic scientists could perform tests, but Bollier insisted that several versions of the fragments might be floating about, without giving further details. The fragments he viewed could have come from timers he sold to Libya or to East Germany or might even be counterfeit copies since the blueprints Mebo used to make the circuit boards had mysteriously disappeared, he said. ``It could be counterfeit,'' Bollier said when asked where a fragment could have come from.
Yet, few hours after today´s trial adjournment a BBC NEWS website happily exclaimed that "s Swiss businessman has admitted that the timer used to detonate the Lockerbie bomb was made by his company". The particular context and headline of that "story" was withdrawn and modified late night Tuesday.
Also late night Tuesday, Mr. Bollier said he planned to file a criminal complaint to the Scottish Police regarding possible forgery of evidence.
Antennae on roof (LTB UNIT)
Bollier continued to be examined in chief by Alan Turnbull QC for the Crown. He said he met the accused, Abdelbasset in Zurich and in Tripoli. He said that Abdelbasset was involved when Mebo installed the antennae on the building used by the Libyan Military Security Services, which was headed by Mr Bishari, in Tripoli. Bollier said that Abdelbasset and Badri Hassan ordered the antennae when they visited Mebo in Zurich. Abdelbasset ordered 30 mobile radio devices for the Libyan military. Mr Bollier, at the Advocate-Depute's request, pointed out the accused Abdelbasset sitting in the dock as the man he was talking about.
The Advocate-Depute went on to ask Mr Bollier about a Mr Senussi. At this point, Burns QC for the defence objected to this line of questioning. He claimed it was outwith the libel. This was overruled by Lord Sutherland, who said that not all evidence had to fall within the precise terms of the libel. Some evidence might be relevant, although not seeming to fall within the terms of the libel. Lord Sutherland similarly overruled a later objection by Mr Burns along the same lines. Mr Bollier went on to give evidence about having dealt with Mr Senussi over a telephone monitoring system.
Bollier said that his company, Mibo, rented offices in Zurich to a company known as ABH. He understood that ABH was a company being set up by Mr Hussan Badri and the accused, Abdelbasset. He later said he was not sure if the company had ever been properly set up.
Bollier admitted taking items from Zurich to Tripoli for Abdelbasset. He said that on one occasion he took 30 radio devices. He said that other items, aerial radios, were sent out to Tripoli by Libyan Arab Airways. Bollier agreed that when he had been interviewed by the public prosecutor in Zurich some years ago he said he had left items for Abdelbasset in the "Ezzadin" office in Tripoli.
Bollier went on to say that he thought he had last dealt with Abdelbasset in November 1987 concerning the antennae for the military security building in Tripoli. When pressed by Mr Turnbull he admitted he might have spoken to Abdelbasset on the telephone after that, but he did not think so.
He said that Mr Hinshiri and Mr Rashid ordered items from Mibo in 1985. In effect this was an order by the Office of Military Security, Bollier said. The items they ordered were mobile radio equipment, timers, radio controls, Motorola receivers and "transmitters in suitcases". Bollier said it was made clear that the timers had to be stable and heavy and able to operate over a long period of time. He said that Mebo solved the problem by creating timers which could deal with a period of 9,999 minutes or 9,999 hours. Bollier said that this was to be a substantial order of timers.
He said the number was either 1,500 or 15,000. Bollier said that the Mebo technician developed the timer on the basis of the specifications Bollier had received from Tripoli. The technician produced two sample timers and these were delivered to Libya in the summer of 1985. Bollier claimed that only about 20 timers were sent to Libya. These samples were meant to be followed on with the large order of 1,500 or 15,000. However, that order never materialised. Bollier said he took the samples to Libya himself. These were delivered differently. The original five were brought as samples, five were sent via the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin and 10 Bollier took to Libya personally. This was the final delivery. Bollier said he knew that the timers he was delivering were going to the headquarters of the Libyan secret service.
New translation twist
There then followed a legal debate following on a point raised by Mr Burns for the defence, who was concerned that the official translation of the statements made by Mr Bollier to the public prosecutor in Zurich had been translated from German into English. He described this as "the official translation". He said, however, he was finding that the translations of these documents in court today were differing from the official translation he had been working on. The Judges pointed out that they had no access to these official translations at all and were simply relying on what was being said in court.
Mr Burns said that these differences might well cause a problem. In an exchange with the Judges, it appeared that Lord Coulsfield had sufficient facility in German to follow the proceedings and documents in that language and therefore was able to judge for himself about the accuracy of the translation. Lord McLean confessed that he did not have Lord Coulsfield's talent in the German language! Lord Sutherland said he thought the problem might be solved by the Judges being allowed an official English translation of German documents and that these could appear on the screens which are being used in the Lockerbie trial to view documentary productions.
For the Crown, Mr Turnbull said that he thought the defence was wrong to say that the translations of the interviews which had taken place in Zurich from German into English were in any sense certified or official. This legal debate resolved itself by Lord Sutherland saying that, if the defence were concerned that there had been a mis-translation of the documents from German into English, they must raise this with the court. Mr Burns undertook to do this.
Mr Bollier's evidence recommenced after this legal debate. He said that in his interview in Zurich he had narrated that Mebo had been asked to produce a timer that could be programmed for a period of up to 99 hours. Also it had to be robust, impact-resistant and moisture-proof. He confirmed that he had said in the statement in Zurich that the order had been placed by Said Rashid in Tripoli in the summer of 1985. Bollier confirmed that he had also been interviewed about this matter by the German police in Frankfurt, as well as by the Swiss authorities in Zurich. He said his passport showed that he had been in Libya from 4th July to 16th July 1985 and during that stay he was given specifications concerning the development of these timers in the offices of Said Rashid and Ezzadin.
The Advocate-Depute pointed out to Mr Bollier that he had said in four different interviews that his trip to Libya in July 1985 was when the order for the timers had been made. The Advocate-Depute went on to put to Mr Bollier Crown production no. 1544, which was a transcript of an interview which took place on 25th March 1994 at Zurich when Bollier was interviewed by an officer of the German Criminal Investigation Department. In that interview, Bollier had said that the order for the MST-13 timers to the German Democratic Republic had taken place in February 1985. The Advocate-Depute then produced an order card from the supply company Thuring which showed an order for 20 MST-13 printed circuit boards made on 13th August 1985. Bollier accepted that the evidence from the Thuring's order card was more consistent with Mebo having received an order from Said Rashid in July 1985, rather than having anything to do with an order placed in February 1985.
Bollier said that the timers were for the purpose of detonating explosive devices. Bollier said that either Hinshiri or Rashid had told him that Libya needed these devices because of the Chad war. They wanted to leave explosive charges in military camps when they left these camps. (LTBU end)
Bollier to face 'bum rap' over timer sales ?21/6/2000 BBC NEWS
The prosecution team in the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing had considered charging a Swiss businessman in connection with the attack. The revelation came as Edwin Bollier, who has - according to BBC NEWS, but not according to other news agencies - admitted that one of the timers made by his company was used in the bombing, faced further questions at the trial in the Netherlands. Advocate Depute, Allan Turnbull QC, said charging Mr Bollier with conspiracy to cause the bombing in which 270 people died had been an option considered by the prosecution.
Mr Turnbull then said that just because Mr Bollier had not been charged did not mean he was not involved. The businessman, a partner in the company Mebo, has been giving evidence about how he travelled from Libya to Malta the day before the Lockerbie disaster in December 1988. David Burns, for the defence, said that if the Crown planned to inquire further about Mr Bollier's movements and suggested he was a co-conspirator they would be forced to object as they had not been given notice of that position. Mr Turnbull told the court: "If we were going to libel him we would have done so, these issues have been considered.
"The decision not to include him as a co-conspirator is not a recognition that he has nothing to do with the matter. "The extent of his involvement is yet to be developed in evidence. It may be he has involvement in what occurred, but unless the Crown is able to adduce evidence that places him in the conspiracy, it is not appropriate to libel him as a co-conspirator." Mr Turnbull asked Mr Bollier why he had to stay in Tripoli so long and told him: "I am wondering why you didn't arrange to come back on December 19 travelling via Malta." Mr Bollier said: "I don't think there was a flight, I don't remember." He said he would have preferred to take a direct flight back, but was unable to. (end BBC)
Rumours regarding a possible apprehension or arrest of Bollier should he arrive to testify, has been circulating among Scottish news media for some time now. There have also been rumours that Bollier might be offered immunity by the prosecution from any criminal charges, should he testify in their favor. Raed more on that subject at:
- and read a copy of a letter from the Crown to Ed Bollier ensuring Bollier he would not be indicted or detained on arrival at Zeist: http://www.thelockerbietrial.com/letter_from_crown_office.htm
Babysuit in suitcase (Electronic Telegraph)
The court heard that when Mr Bollier flew to Tripoli on Dec 18 he took with him a suitcase that had been given to him by Badri Hassan, a Libyan intelligence agent working undercover in Zurich. He was going to Libya to deliver 40 timers to Ezzadin Hinshiri, a Libyan intelligence officer, and Mr Hassan had asked him to deliver the suitcase to a "friend".
In police interviews, the businessman said he looked in the case to check if there was something "dangerous" in it, and saw children's clothes, including a blue baby suit. The remains of a blue baby suit were later found in the wreckage in Lockerbie and linked to the suitcase bomb.
Mr Bollier agreed that he had told police in 1991 that the baby suit was inside the case given him by Mr Hassan. But yesterday, he said that he must have been mistaken and that there was no such item. He denied he was lying about the clothing in the case. He also revealed that after delivering MST-13 timers to Tripoli, he took part in desert tests in which they were successfully used to detonate aircraft bombs. Three Libyan colonels watched the tests. (ET end)
Bollier visited by mystery man22/6/2000 BBC NEWS et al.
The businessman who supplied the timer which detonated the Lockerbie bomb has told a court how he wrote to American intelligence, blaming the Libyans for the atrocity. In the letter to the Central Intelligence Agency, Edwin Bollier told how the bomb, which blew up Pan Am Flight 103 and killed 270 people, had been placed in a suitcase. He also said he had phoned Libya shortly after the attack as he thought it was responsible. However, Edwin Bollier claimed the allegations in his letter were "pure fantasy", prompted by a visit by a"mystery man" from the secret services.
Mr Ed Bollier told the Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands that shortly after the bombing happened he was visited at his offices by a mystery man. He said he did not know who he was but believed he was from the secret services. The man allegedly told him to send a letter to the CIA, blaming Libya and its leader Colonel Gadaffi. In the letter, Mr Bollier said the bomb had been placed in a suitcase.
Later he told investigators he had written it because he thought they were on the wrong track and were not investigating the Libyans. In court, he then changed his story and said it had all been made up. Mr Bollier agreed that he had also told investigators that shortly after the Lockerbie bombing he had phoned Libyan officials because he believed they were to blame. But he changed that too, saying he had wanted to complain because the Libyans had not paid him for deliveries of goods.
Mr Bollier, 62, told the court that he delivered the typewritten letter to the American Embassy in Vienna in January 1989 which had already blamed Libya and said the bomb had been contained in a suitcase. He claimed he was ordered to implicate Libya by a "mystery man" from the secret services who visited the offices of his firm in Zurich soon after the tragedy. He said he "made up" the letter, describing it as "pure fantasy".
However, the court heard that in an interview with the Swiss authorities in 1991, Mr Bollier said the purpose of the letter had been "to get the investigators away from the wrong track and bring them on to the Libyan track". The "wrong track" was the investigation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).
Under cross-examination from David Burns, QC, defending one of the accused, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, Mr Bollier denied he had wanted to implicate Libya to deflect attention away from East Germany’s secret police – the Stasi – for whom he had also manufactured MST-13 timers, and who had allegedly supplied them to groups including the PFLP-GC. Alan Turnbull, QC, prosecuting, questioned Mr Bollier about attempts to telephone his Libyan contacts in the days after the bombing and the CIA letter which was produced in court.
Mr Bollier said a man "from the secret services" who knew he had been delivering timers to Libya appeared at his office on 30 December, 1988. He said: "He gave me clear instructions to write a letter to the CIA and explain that Col Gadaffi and Mr Sinussi are behind this attack. "You are smart enough to write a letter and all I can say is do it otherwise you will suffer the consequences in the media, etc. Then he disappeared the same way he had shown up."
He said he had been told to write the letter on a typewriter with a Spanish letter set which he did. It said the CIA could contact him using a codename and also suggested he should be paid for any "classified information". Mr Bollier said there was no truth in the letter which he wrote because he was told to and because he wanted to find out more about the "mystery man" who had "more or less blackmailed" him.
The court also heard Mr Bollier made attempts to contact Mr Hinshiri and Megrahi – whose office he had visited during that trip. He said he wanted to complain to them about not being paid for the rejected timers and ask why he had been sent to Megrahi’s office to be paid but then sent away without any cash.
Bollier fried in court today
23/06/00 Reuters et al.
Reeling from five days of merciless questioning from all sides, businessman Edwin Bollier left the Lockerbie witness box on Friday to end the most sensational week yet of the airliner bombing trial. Co-owner of the Swiss firm that allegedly made the timer used in the 1988 blast over Scotland, Bollier
had been billed as the hostile prosecution witness who could smash the case against two Libyans to smithereens. But his court stint -- the longest witness appearance since the trial began on May 3 -- saw him mauled by prosecution and defence alike, branded a liar and a Stasi collaborator. (Left: Bollier arriving at Camp Zeist/ photo: Paul O'Driscoll/EPS/Scotsman)
Lawyers pulled Bollier to pieces, exposing numerous contradictions in his testimony and in interviews given to investigators over the years since the atrocity. "The fact is you are mired completely in a web of deceit and cunning and lies of your own invention and when you come out with 'mystery men' or agents provocateurs it is merely an attempt to excuse your own inexcusable behaviour," said defence counsel Richard Keen in a blistering attack on Friday.
Bollier had testified that he wrote to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency implicating Libya shortly after the Lockerbie bombing, but had done so at the behest of a "mystery man" secret service agent who spoke English-accented German. Bollier's firm, Mebo, is central to the murder case against Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, and Bollier was the prosecution witness observers had awaited with bated breath.
ZITHERS AND FERRIS WHEELS
Bollier's reports said scientific tests showed the bomb could not have been in a suitcase -- a key plank of the indictment, which states that the suspects put a suitcase bearing the bomb onto a plane in Malta, from where it went via Frankfurt to be loaded onto doomed Pan Am flight 103 in London. Despite such claims from Bollier before his appearance at the special Scottish court in the Netherlands, prosecutors had no choice but to call him as a witness because if they did not the defence would, observers said.
But prosecutor Alan Turnbull's unusual tactic was to discredit his own witness -- at one point even admitting that the Crown had considered charging Bollier as a co-conspirator. He said at one stage that Bollier "will be presented as a witness who ought not necessarily to be believed".
"It is bizarre in a Scottish court for the Crown to be demolishing one of its witnesses," said law professor John Grant, calling it a damage-limitation exercise by prosecutors as they tried to banish Bollier's Internet reports from the minds of the three-judge panel hearing the case. "Having seen what you said was nonsense, you decided to make something else up?" Turnbull asked on Wednesday during testimony about making electronic timers for Libya. "That is correct," Bollier replied.
Defence lawyer David Burns, for Megrahi, charged that Bollier implicated Libya to deflect attention from Palestinian guerrillas, who were early suspects in the Lockerbie attack. Keen, for Fahima, went on to accuse Bollier of blaming Libya in a bid to cover up his own collaboration with the Stasi, the secret service of former communist East Germany.
Keen's cross-examination became more and more savage -- and he opted for open ridicule as he accused Bollier of inventing the "mystery man" who ordered him to write to the CIA, conjuring up images of stage spies and the thriller "The Third Man". "Was he wearing a mackintosh (i.e. rain coat), by any chance?" asked Keen. When Bollier said yes, Keen said: "He didn't happen to have a trilby (i.e.spy hat) pulled down over his eyes, did he?" Bollier said no.
"Do you recall hearing zither music when he approached you? Could you see a ferris wheel (i.e. amusement park vehicle) in the distance, perhaps?" Keen said, drawing irritation but a half-smile too from Bollier. "So it was just a plain mystery man in a mac," said Keen. Several times during questioning by both prosecution and defence Bollier protested, saying he was a sincere witness who had come to court to help solve the Lockerbie case. "I am here as a witness to tell the truth," he said.
Stasi implicated ?
Later the trial heard that Bollier had collaborated with the East German secret police, Stasi. The court was told that Edwin Bollier was given cash advances of more than one million Swiss francs during the 1970s and 1980s for equipment he later supplied to the Stasi. He also tried to procure a manual for them so that they could penetrate a complex coding system used by the then West German secret service. Richard Keen QC, representing Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, described Mr Bollier as having "spied and collaborated" with the Stasi. Mr Bollier said: "This is not spying, it's just organising a manual they could not get themselves."
(Picture left: Meister (headphones) and Bollier (cigarette); from radio DJ´s in 1970 to the Lockerbie bombing trial in 2000 !)
He denied he invented the "mystery man" to disguise his links with the Stasi and rejected allegations of deception. Mr Keen told him: "The fact is that you are mired completely in a web of deceit, cunning and lying of your own invention. "When you come out with references to mysterious men and agents provocateurs it's merely an attempt to excuse your own inexcusable behaviour."
Mr Keen told him: "You were instructed by your paymasters in East Germany to write a letter implicating the Libyans because they were concerned the investigation was on different tracks with regard to the bombing?" He replied: "That's not correct."
“Isn’t it the case that at the beginning of the investigation you were still a Stasi collaborator and you became drawn into a web of cunning and deceit and lies in which you are still enmeshed?” Keen asked. “A legitimate Swiss businessman who was a Stasi collaborator could have been advised by the Stasi that investigators were on the track of the PFLP-GC,” said Keen.
Bollier said he met East German spymaster Markus Wolf on his first visit to the Stasi in East Berlin in 1970. He admitted he was often in debt to the Stasi but said that was because they paid him in advance for goods such as devices for the remote control of detonators, encryption systems and electronic timers. In contrast to Libya who often delayed paying him, East Germany gave him lump sums plus credit for material and information supplied, he said, acknowledging that the Stasi paid him around a million Swiss francs in 1970-1980 and half a million thereafter.
He had an arrangement with the Stasi, which mean his passport would not show entry into East Germany. Bollier told of a meeting with two Stasi members in East Berlin on January 1989.
More details of the CIA letter, which Mr Bollier alleged he had made up, emerged as he was cross-examined. He asked the CIA to contact him on a certain radio frequency using the code name AGA. He did not sign the letter but said he was a Libyan radio officer. The letter was typed on notepaper from a hotel in Tripoli. He later met members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America in 1991 where he said the idea for the letter came from a meeting with the Stasi.
Court adjourned until Tuesday, June 27. Another MEBO employee, Ulrich Lumpert, and several former Stasi-employees are scheduled to testify next week.